Although my young son (AKA Baby Lumpia) is only 15-months old and is much too young to indulge in candy of any sort, my wife and I made it a priority to dress the little guy up for Halloween this year and take him out trick-or-treating just so he could properly experience the occassion.
While I wanted to dress Baby Lumpia up as a Zombie-Ninja, the wife vetoed that idea and opted for something “easy and warm” as she put it.
To the casual observer, my kid’s costume may seem to be a simple “skeleton”, but I like to say that he was dressed as a member of the Cobra Kai:
Ah, the Karate Kid. It’s a classic.
Anyways, besides dressing my kid up as a member of a villainous band of bullies, I also decided to celebrate Halloween by making my own homemade candy. But not just any candy, mind you. I decided to make a batch of the traditional Filipino candy known as Polvoron.
To the unitiated, Polvoron may seem like a strange candy–what with it’s crumbled cookie texture. Actually, Polveron’s texture often goes beyond crumbled cookie and is more like pulverized cookie. Polveron=pulverized. After all, the main ingredients in polveron are flour, powdered milk, sugar, and butter. And while those ingredients may seem like a strange mix for a candy, trust me, Polveron is delicious stuff… just don’t go around snorting mounds of it Tony Montana-style:
Although commercially made Polveron can be easily found at Filipino markets, I’ve discovered that it’s actually super easy (and super cheap) to make at home. There are also many variants on Polveron–everything from chocolate-flavored, to oreo-tinged, and to chopped nuts, exist in Polveron form. But I stuck to a traditional plain Polveron for my recipe.
To make Polveron, start by toasting some flour in a dry non-stick pan. The flour must be toasted in order to get rid of any raw flour taste in the final product.
After toasting the flour to a nutty light brown, some powdered milk and sugar can be mixed in. Then, to bind everything together, some melted butter is added to the dry ingredients.
In order to shape the actual Polveron candy, Polveron molds are available at many Filipino markets. These molds are springloaded thingymajigs that tightly pack the Polveron mixture into nice little round candy shapes.
But since I have no Polveron mold, I decided to shape the candies by spooning some of the Polveron mix (about a Tablespoon’s worth) into the bottom of a shot glass and then packing down the mixture with a cocktail muddler until the candy was nice and packed. I then overturned the shot glass and placed the formed candy on some cellophane. I found that a shot glass provides the perfect size and shape for Polveron.
Actual “shot glass” that I “borrowed”
from my college chemistry class many many moons ago.
Tightly pack the Polveron
Overturn the shot glass and the candy slides right out.
Wrap the candy in a square of cellophane, wax paper, colored tissue paper, etc.
All treats, no tricks, at the Burnt Lumpia
In my experience, Polvoron seems to be one of those Filipino foods that Pinoys either love or hate. Maybe it’s Polvoron’s powdery texture, or maybe it’s because of a lack of exposure to Polvoron, but I’ve come across quite a few Fil-Ams who don’t fully appreciate Polvoron. I happen to love the nutty, buttery, milky flavors of this Filipino candy. Hopefully, Baby Lumpia will grow up to enjoy Polvoron like I do, but if not, then all the more for his old man.
Homemade Polveron (Filipino Milk Candy)
Makes about 20 candies
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup powdered milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
Place the flour in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook the flour until it becomes light brown and begins to smell toasty and nutty (10-15 minutes). Stir continuously to prevent flour from burning. Once flour is toasted, immediately remove from pan and place in a large mixing bowl. Allow flour to cool to room temperature.
Add the powdered milk and sugar to the toasted flour. Whisk to combine. Add the melted butter to the dry ingredients and stir until the mixture resembles wet sand.
Using a Polveron mold (available at Filipino markets), or other mold, shape the Polveron candies.
Wrap each candy in a square of cellophane, or tissue paper, or wax paper.